With the World Test Championship 2023 final scheduled to begin from June 7, India face Australia at The Oval in London. Led by Rohit Sharma, India will be looking to win their first WTC title, after losing in the final in the inaugural edition. In the 2019-21 WTC final, India were captained by Virat Kohli and crashed to a eight-wicket victory.
Ahead of the final, Rahul Dravid and Co. face a selection dilemma for the wicketkeeper role. First-choice wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant has been ruled out and is recovering from injuries from a freak car accident. Meanwhile, back-up wicketkeeper KL Rahul is also injured and won’t be available for the WTC final.
Speaking ahead of the WTC final, former India head coach Ravi Shastri and RCB’s Dinesh Karthik shared their perspective on the wicketkeeper conundrum. Speaking to The ICC Review, Shastri said, “See, that’s another tight one (decision). Now, if two spinners are playing, then you would want Bharat to play.”
“You have to see who’s a better keeper. Is it Bharat or Ishan Kishan? Now, the fact that Bharat was given a run against Australia, where he played all the Test matches, I think he would be the obvious choice to go with.”
After choosing Bharat, Shastri also explained that it didn’t mean Kishan wasn’t a better player. “There’s not much there. It’s not that one guy is far better than the other. Batting will also come into play, whether you want Ishan Kishan’s batting to shore up the middle order. That’s another thing you’ll take into perspective. Are you going to go with four fast bowlers? Then there’s not much spin and you just need someone decent behind the stumps to do the job. So that you would leave to team management. Just before the game, they would weigh in just these little things that I’ve just said, and obviously look at current form”, he stated.
Meanwhile, Karthik also supported Shastri’s decision. “I think Bharat will be a pretty straightforward choice because playing Ishan Kishan in his debut and a Test match straight in the World Test Championship Final is asking a bit too much”, he said.
“And the fact that KS Bharat probably tips the scale in favour of himself just a little bit with this keeping edge that he has got. So I do think they will go in with KS Bharat for the final,” he further added.
Having made his Test debut in February 2023, Bharat has featured in four matches for India. Meanwhile, Kishan has never featured in a Test match and he was added to the squad as Rahul’s replacement.